Tuesday, November 17, 2009

REVIEW: Grizzly Dad

Harrison, J.  (2008).  Grizzly Dad.  New York:  David Fickling Books.


PLOT SUMMARY:  A young boy's dad wakes up in a bad mood.  After the dad is sent to take a nap, the boy discovers that his father has turned into a grizzly bear.

I love the SIZE of this book.  It is huge and many of the illustrations are just as GIGANTIC.

It is such a fun demonstration of what an artist can do when playing with perspective in the illustrations.  The book's even cuter, though when you put it in the hands of a wee little child who can barely hold the book up.  Cuteness. And then the child accidentally rips the page out of the book as its falling out of his chubby little hand, meaning you (the adult who was so enraptured by the cuteness a moment ago) must now tape the book up and hope a librarian doesn't notice as you return the book because you're not classy enough to pay for it.  Yep.

Back on topic, the illustrations include a lot of fun humorous details that kids will get a kick out of noticing.  There.  I said that.  Now I can move on to a new topic.

Despite the dad's bad beginning to the day, the boy is willing to confront his dad about his bad mood, stating "I'm fed up with you!!! First you're in a bad mood, then you turn into a bear!"  And then the two have a wonderful day together.  While this may not always be able to become the reality, a teacher or parent can discuss having a child speak up calmly when they feel an adult is being unfair or grumpy.  Then the adult can also calmly do the same when the child is also grumpy.  It's only fair.


Grizzly Dad is a good way to discuss emotions, letting children know that adults can get just as grumpy as kids their own age.  The book can also be used to encourage metaphorical thought.  All a teacher needs to do is ask questions like "Do you really think the dad turned into a grizzly bear?"  From there, a classroom or family can start using "grizzly bear" as a code for someone being too grumpy and needing to calm down.

Also, to encourage father-son or father-daughter bonding, the young readers and their guardian could spend the day doing what the narrator and grizzly dad do--seeing a movie or playing in the park.  Then the adult could be super-sneaky and do another read aloud with the child to reinforce reading as a fun activity.  Cause it totally is!


"Dad woke up in a Grrrrizzly mood!"

"Dad!!!" I yelled, and pulled back the bedcovers.
But it wasn't Dad in bed at all...It was a GREAT BIG GRIZZLY BEAR!"

"I should have been frightened, but the grumpy look on its face reminded me of someone.
"Dad," I said.  "Is that you?"


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